How to choose a real estate agency?

The real estate agency segment in Croatia is overcrowded and many agencies do not offer a quality service. Take time to get to know the real estate agency you will collaborate with and choose the right partner carefully. What should you consider?

Expert knowledge
Agencies and agents in Croatia must be licensed, which is regulated by the Law on Real Estate Mediation. Real estate agencies have many obligations arising from the Law, some of the main ones being: at least one of its employees has to be employed full time and must have passed the professional exam at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce; the agency must have adequate offices and liability insurance; real estate agencies are obligated to check the documentation of all the listed properties. Check whether an agency is legal in the Register of Licensed Agencies and Intermediaries, and don't collaborate with those you cannot find in it, as they are illegal. The license itself is not a guarantee of the real estate agency's expertise. Find out about the experience and credentials of the owners, directors and agents, as you should be collaborating with sales, marketing and negotiation experts. Enquire about how long the agency has benn operating, check its client list and references. 

Market information
Licensed real estate agencies operate within a defined legal framework, but quality ones have the best market insight and knowledge of the trends shaping it. They will be able to give you informed advice, whether you are looking for or offering a flat, house or office, and the longer they have existed, the more you will be able to rely on their advice. If you are a seller, a quality agency will give you a very precise and realistic market valuation and staging advice, which will yield a result with a quicker completion. If you are a buyer or prospective tenant, they will advise on attractive locations, yields and returns, thus helping you protect the largest investment you might ever make.
A quality real estate agency must be a marketing expert. The real estate agency's website is the primary channel through which it presents its offer, and those with attractive, user-friendly, resposive and optimised sites get more inquiries. Quality real estate agencies use Facebook, Instagram and other social networks. The ad for each flat, house or office is also important, as those which are well-composed, provide correct information and quality, but realistic, photos of the property, are more noticeable. Don’t work with agencies that only advertise on property search engines.

Quality real estate agencies are expert negotiatiors, whose goal is the completion to the benefit of all the parties invloved. They must negotiate ethically so no damages are incurred. 

Legal support
Real estate agencies have to understand laws and regulations which are directly and indirectly related to property transactions, such as the Law on Property and Other Real Rights, the Law on Physical Planning and Construction, the Law on Land Registry, and the Law on Real Estate Sales Tax. The legal complexity of some transactions could be overwhelming for an inexperienced agency, who could then provide the wrong advice, resulting in damages. Quality real estate agencies have legal teams or collaborate with lawyers, so you can be sure that you have reliable, but also specialised legal advice.

Saving time
Owners should not waste time on marketing, presentations and viewings, and on answering lots questions from buyers or tenants. A real estate agency also saves the owners time by filtering out frivolous inquiries and obtaining documentation. The agency saves buyers and tenants time by presenting only adequate flats, houses and offices, with no hindrances on the title.